Helping students cope with anxiety during COVID-19 pandemic


Shreya Raj

Psychology & Mindfulness Expert

Outlook India recently asked: ‘Is mental health the next Pandemic in India?’

This is an eye-opener, considering the stigma surrounding mental health in India.

According to a survey carried out by the Indian Psychiatry Society, there was a 20% rise in the number of cases of mental illness among students at the end of March 2020. Since then, things have become much worse.

Anxiety among school and college students during the pandemic has led to panic attacks, suicidal tendencies, suicides, extreme stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), loss of appetite, etc.

Anxiety has been one of the main mental health issues among school students of India. Here are some ways you can help yourself or someone around you help cope with anxiety:

1. Talk to friends and family

Communication, staying in touch with your loved ones is an important factor in keeping your mental health in check. It is in times like these that your social circle becomes important. The pandemic anyway made us stay confined within the four walls of our home, so any chance you get at maintaining the relationship with your friends and family, don’t lose it.

Also, talk with your school friends and teachers. Tell them about your concerns and fears about the semester. After a long day in front of the screen, talking frankly about the problems that stress you out can be a welcome break. Allowing anxiety and stress to overtake you during your online studies semester would do more harm than good.

2. Social media distancing

The biggest distance you need to create is with social media, especially when you're facing anxiety. Although social media has its advantages, most of the time it is one of the biggest causes of anxiety in adolescents and school students.

Recent studies indicate that social media addiction can cause social anxiety disorder.

3. Shift your focus towards productivity

Even though we have no control over the global crisis, we must concentrate on the one thing over which we do have control: our response to the crisis. This is a chance to do something different and do something we haven't had time to do in the past.

Organize a cluttered space, paint a fence, clean the garage, edit images on your phone, clean and ride a rusted bike, and play a board game — remember those? You may also experiment with picking up a new skill or begin a new hobby.

4. Engage in stress-busting and anxiety-busting activities

You will find the peace you want by reflecting on what you are grateful for, exercising your body, and calming your mind. Guided meditation, yoga, exercise, and maintaining a gratitude journal are all stress-relieving strategies. Choose one or two, learn everything there is to know about them, and practice every day. Be grateful if you and your loved ones are not terminally ill, in dire financial straits, or suffering from some major issue.

5. Go to a therapist; get some help from a professional

You don't have to do this by yourself. If your anxiety is rising, seek support from a therapist who will guide you through this tough time. Online help or tele-health is used by almost all therapists, so you aren't restricted to those in your local region. Anxiety, depression, or insomnia medication may be needed and can be administered by a psychiatrist.

Here's a list of some 24*7 helpline numbers for mental health support:

1. JEEVAN AASTHA HELPLINE: 1800 233 3330


3. KIRAN MENTAL HEALTH: 18005990019

4. SPANDAN: 7389366696

5. AASRA: 98204 66726

Perhaps, after this crisis has ended, we will all again enjoy what we take for granted: a healthy society, the opportunity to have social gatherings, dinner with friends, a night at the movies, and even a simple haircut.

Here’s to that hopeful, positive and exciting future that is in store for us.

View more content by Shreya Raj

Discussion Board

What do you think can students do to cope up with stress and anxiety during this time?

Rohit Chopra
Students are coping with incredible pressure due to social isolation, exam pressure, career worries etc. Our message from Zifcare is to stay strong, be positive and know that it's ok to be a little overwhelmed sometimes. Speak to your school counsellor, parents, teachers or anyone if you need to talk to someone. ❤️
Aashkaa Nair
Great article Shreya! Very informative 👌👏
shreya raj
Thank you